Follow a plan
Hopefully you’ve been following a triathlon specific plan in preparation for the big day, so your body knows what’s coming! I think it’s always a good idea to roughly follow a plan so that you are definitely getting enough training in, and the right amounts of each discipline.
Practice your weaknesses
If up to now you’ve been subbing your swim sessions for the gym because that’s your least favourite part – it’s time to double up on those sessions. It’s easy to work hardest at the parts you enjoy the most, but that’s not very helpful come race day!
Practice brick sessions
In triathlete-speak, a brick means doing two disciplines back to back, just like you would in the race. It’s not necessary to do the whole distance, but it’s a good idea to try running for 10-15 minutes off the bike, to get used to those ‘jelly legs’ that you experience at first.
You don’t want to turn up on race-day with a brand new tri-suit that chaffs your under-arms the whole way around the course. Make sure you get a good amount of training sessions done in anything you plan on using on the day.
Train your stomach
The nutrition part is just as important as the training, so make sure you practice. Test out which evening meal before a training day works best, and the same with race day breakfast – try not to give your tummy too many surprises. If you’re planning on using energy gels, drinks on snacks during the race, then practice, practice, practice.
Know how to ride a bike but no idea how to fix one? It’s time to get skilled! If you get a puncture during the race, it’s up to you to sort it. It’s not something you can just guess, I would suggest watching some YouTube tutorials and then practicing a few times before the day.
Become a confident open water swimmer, and try to relax
Very few people like the swim start, it basically feels like you are in a giant washing machine of people, with arms and legs flying at you from every angle. It’s easy to panic in this situation – which is not ideal when swimming. It’s important to get some open-water swim sessions under your belt before you race (to also get used to the cold), and to think about some techniques to help you relax when you go into a panic.
Keep on top of your recovery
With the race only a few weeks away, it’s important to stay on top of your recovery. I would recommend foam rolling daily, mobility work, and some Pilates. Injuries can happen at any time (and often do), so make sure recovery is a priority!
Get your bike tuned and cleaned
Take your bike to your local bike shop before the race to make sure it’s in tip-top condition, it’s oiled up and the breaks are all working properly! It’s a good idea to give it a good clean too!
If you are new to racing, you are probably new to the idea of tapering too. It’s important to go into your race feeling fresh and strong, which means you need to think about reducing the volume of training 1-2 weeks before the race. The intensity of training should stay the same (we don’t want your legs going to sleep), but the frequency and volume should definitely be cut back.